When buying a property in the South of France, it’s crucial to commission a full building survey to ensure there are no post-purchase surprises that end up costing you thousands. Red flags on a house survey report indicate serious problems or defects that need to be repaired or replaced urgently.


It’s always better to be safe than sorry when purchasing a property. As such, any red flags on a house survey need to be taken seriously – as they could reveal that your dream home is actually a nightmare. That said, some red flags can be relatively easy fixes – and might present an opportunity for you to get the house at a better price.


Either way – it’s crucial that you have a full and proper property survey conducted before committing to purchase. Here are five important red flags on a house survey to look out for when buying a home in the South of France.

1. Structural Movement or Subsidence

Structural movement can be one of the most concerning red flags on a house survey. In extreme cases, structural movement or subsidence can lead to walls, floors, or roofs collapsing.


If significant structural movement is flagged in a survey report, your surveyor will recommend that you talk to a structural expert. Depending on the following assessment, the affected area may need to be reinforced, underpinned, or completely torn down and rebuilt.

2. Roof Issues

A thorough survey will include an inspection of the roof, and high surfaces. These inspections will uncover if there are any cracked tiles, faulty or blocked guttering, or an unstable roof structure.


Guttering problems and broken tiles are, of course, easy enough to fix. However, for more serious roof issues a specialist roofing contractor will need to be brought in – which may cost you into the thousands depending on the extent of the problem.

3. Electrical Issues and Outdated Wiring

One of the most common red flags on a house survey when it comes to purchasing an older property is an outdated wiring system. Other red flags may alert to a smaller problem – however, if you need the whole property rewired, this can cost thousands.


Actual costs will depend on the extent of the required repairs and the nature of the work – and it must be remembered that if the house is in a rural area the costs may be higher due to the location.

4. Faulty Drainage

A faulty drainage system can cause all sorts of problems for a property. Common causes include damage to pipes, blockages, a backlog of water, and ponding.


Your survey report should reveal not only the problem but the cause of it. It may be that an expert is required to advise you on the best next steps. If this is the case, your South of France surveyor will put you in touch with the right people for a professional quote.

5. Damp

Damp is probably the most common red flag brought up in survey reports. Penetrating damp is caused when water gets into a property from the outside – from leaky roofs or rising damp, for instance, or otherwise by condensation or poor ventilation.


Dampness can lead to both external and internal wet rot, which might be expensive to fix, depending on the extent of the problem. If damp is detected, your survey should reveal the cause, so you know what needs to be treated and how.  

Charles Mackintosh – South of France Property Surveyor

If you’re in need of a professional property surveyor in the South of France, Charles Mackintosh is at your service. With over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the region, Charles provides highly regarded English language property surveys and advice for overseas buyers. Get in touch today for more information.